Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gilded in the Flats

I birded the Santa Cruz Flats NW of Tucson this past Sunday. A nice surprise was this Gilded Flicker, far from any stands of Saguaro, its primary breeding habitat.

Similar to the red-shafted subspecies of Northern Flicker, the male Gilded sports a red moustach. But notice the golden color of the tail shafts (richer than the bright yellow of the yellow-shafted Northern Flicker). And also notice the bright cinnamon crown that contrasts along its entire length with the gray face.

Overall the bird is paler and smaller than Northern Flicker and, perhaps predictibly,  has a slightly higher pitched voice.

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